Sept. 10, 2000

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – If you asked Rocky Boiman last year what his toughest assignment at Notre Dame was he would probably mention an Organic Chemistry final or an English Literature mid-term. Ask him the same question yesterday following the Notre Dame-Nebraska game and he might reply differently.

Having the task of shadowing the quarterback of the best option offense in the country, his answer might begin with the name Eric.

“He is a tremendous athlete,” Boiman stated following Saturday’s tough loss. “They are one, if not the best offense in the country and we shut them down. I’m proud of this defense.”

Eric Crouch, the quarterback and Heisman hopeful from the University of Nebraska, had a mild game compared to last week. The red machine blitzed San Jose State 49 – 13. Crouch had 3 touchdown runs and one touchdown pass before being replaced in the 3rd quarter.

But Crouch was not going to enjoy so much freedom this weekend. One person who made the difference was Boiman. At the end of the game Crouch wore more gold paint on his jersey then Boiman did on his helmet. On almost every option play ran by Nebraska, Boiman was their shadowing Crouch and letting him feel it. The junior from Cincinnati, Ohio, recorded nine tackles on Saturday. Of those nine, five were solo, including a sack of Crouch in the beginning of the 3rd quarter for a loss of 12 yards. It was this sack that forced Nebraska to punt on their first possession of the second half.

Asked how hard it was to face defeat, Boiman did not hold back any emotion. Wearing the suit he wore to Saturday morning mass with the team prior to the game, Boiman walked out of the locker room with blood showing on the collar of his dress shirt. It was this piece of evidence that relayed the fact that a war had just taken place on the turf of Notre Dame Stadium.

“We put everything into this game,” Boiman said. “We laid our bodies out on that field out there and to come up short, I mean, my guts are torn up inside. But, like I said, we got to keep going in and it is a long season.”

With the defenses toughest individual opponent coming up next week in Drew Brees, the Notre Dame football team has little time to dwell on what could have happened. If asked if the team can take anything away from this football game, Boiman shook off any approach other then considering a loss as a loss.

“I am not really big on that moral victory stuff at all,” Boiman said. “I mean, we’re Notre Dame…It’s a shame we lost but we are going to keep this tight feeling that we have within our team and take it on in the rest of the season.”

With his nine tackles and constant pressure applied to Crouch, Boiman earns this week’s Unsung Hero honors.